Healthy Lifestyle Blog
This Healthy Lifestyle Blog is maintained by John Cripps, who had presented BGCC seminars and provides content to the Healthy Lifestyle web page. Please submit any questions or suggestions to John at email@example.com
To achieve our mission of making healthy lifestyle simple, we provide visitors with the knowledge, tools, and inspiration we believe they will benefit from to the best of our ability. Although we do our best to provide reliable and informative material, we cannot and do not make any representations or warranty with respect to the content on our site and apps. Use of our site, apps, and other services is done at your own risk.
The information we provide at hotg.ca Healthy Lifestyle Blog is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified medical professional. Seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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For questions or concerns about any medical conditions you may have, please contact your doctor.
Never say Never
As the summer games draw near consider giving yourself a challenge. Stop giving negative self-talk by saying “I could never do that”. Regardless of whether you decide to start table tennis, learn a new card game, ride a bicycle, or walk in your age group you can benefit from trying new things, meeting new people, and confronting your fear of failure. Do not be surprised if people around you inspire you simply because you decided to try and were brave enough to do so.
Sometimes a thought occurs to you, and you ask yourself if you can accomplish a new task. On February 27, 2023, a young 74 years-old youngster from Condo 2 contacted me through his MSC-OST walking group with members all around the world. Hiram wondered if he could walk/run the 5K Toronto Marathon May 7, 2023, and “finish in a descent time”. As weeks passed by Hiram challenged himself to walk longer distances, and even do some jogging. Because this young man inspired me, I signed up for the 5K run/walk and sent my registration confirmation to him. Shortly after that time Hiram stuck his toe in the pond and signed up for the event as well.
On a cold Sunday morning, May 7th, I picked up Hiram and his lovely supportive wife Sachiko, because the roads around the Toronto Marathon course were closing at 6:30 am. We arrived near the BMO field, scoped out the starting line, and watched some of the thousands of participants arrive on site. After lining up at the porta potties, crazy long lines indeed, we lined up in the starting gate after the 10K runners and walkers had departed. We were packed in a large group of people and Hiram discussed his plan of running one minute and walking four minutes for the duration of the race. Amid the excitement, runners, spectators, first responders, course marshals, and support staff we began to move, and the race was on.
With 1,694 participants in the 5K event alone at our combined goal was not to be accidentally tripped and taken down in the first kilometer because it was like an intense moving obstacle course as we maneuvered our way around the Queen Elizabeth building at the Exhibition grounds. People of all ages, sizes, and wearing a vast array of outfits were our constant companions along the route. I am so proud to say that we both completed the 5K event and Hiram came in first overall in his age group-70+. What an accomplishment when an idea leads to an action resulting in completing your first ever walk/run race at the age of seventy-four. I also give credit to Sachiko who was incredibly supportive of our effort both before and after the event. Never say never unless you don’t try.
The 80/20 rule, or Pareto principle
Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto conceived the 80/20 principle in 1895, a statistical tool hypothesizing 80% of outcomes result from 20% of causes (1). Pareto concepts can readily apply to business, health, and a variety of other topics. Because much of the population looks for the easiest solution to problems perhaps utilizing the above concepts will achieve the most effect for the least effort to improve our health.
The poor metabolic health of our population, between 1999-2018, was highlighted recently in a 2022 publication (2). Only 6.8% of the adult American population could meet five metrics of cardiometabolic health, characterized by healthy levels of weight, blood pressure, glucose, lipids, and clinical cardiovascular disease (2).
We all would fare better with less stress, more sleep, and more exercise. Sure, these things are important but general advice like this, while important, doesn’t really address the root cause of our burgeoning health issues such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and a multitude of chronic diseases. Future blogs will get into more details for those that are interested but to summarize — the root cause of our exploding non-communicable diseases results from ingestion of ultra-processed food (UPF). UPF is defined here as added sugar, refined wheat (refined white flour), seed oils, and trans fat. Of these four components of UPF, seed oils, sometimes called vegetable or plant oils, are the most toxic by far. Suffice it to say that seed oil consumption has increased approximately 5,000 percent since the year 1900 (3).
UPF contains a combination of seed oils and added sugars in most cases. Because our total blood volume is approximately 5 litres, and we can only tolerate 4-5 grams of glucose in our bloodstream, your body rapidly defends elevated blood sugars by secreting insulin from your pancreas. If we repeatedly ask our pancreas to produce more and more insulin, from chronic carbohydrate overconsumption, our cells become resistant to this hormone, something we call insulin resistance (IR). Eventually we need to produce greater amounts on insulin to overcome the inability of glucose to enter your cells and this leads to type 2 diabetes in predisposed individuals. Seed oil consumption also results in IR in addition to creating oxidative stress, inflammation, and toxicity in every cell membrane of your body.
So how can we apply the Pareto principle to change our lifestyle and what we eat. The real answer is eating whole processed foods, organic if affordable. Because most, if not all UPF, contains the deadly duo of seed oils and added sugar, eliminating anything with a bar code on it is a good start. By changing only 20% of what you do you may well achieve 80% or greater benefit towards your health. Critically eliminate the most toxic, inflammatory, oxidative, and nutrient deficient food — SEED OILS.
#1. Avoid seed oils including cottonseed, canola, corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, sesame, rice bran, grapeseed, rapeseed, and peanut oil. If you must use something for cooking butter, beef tallow, or lard are the healthiest because of fat soluble vitamins critical to our health. If you object to animal products use macadamia nut oil, palm kernel, coconut, olive or avocado. Use as little oil as possible and be aware that up to 70-80% of fruit oils, such as olive and avocado, are reported to be adulterated with soy, corn, or other highly toxic seed oils.
#2. Avoid added sugars including brown sugar, cane juice, fruit juice, corn syrup, dextrose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, lactose, fructose, glucose, fruit nectars, high-fructose corn syrup, maltose, honey, and fruit nectars. There are more as the food industry quietly hides sugars within UPF.
#3. Don’t drink your calories. Avoid fruit juices or beverages with added sweeteners.
#4. Consider the fact that 20% or more of the North American population eating a standard western diet may be addicted to sugar, or UPD —a deadly combination of sugar and seed oils (4).
#5. Type 2 diabetes can be put into remission in several patients. Even if you continue to require some medications, the dose is often reduced, and improvements in metabolic health are commonly seen (5).
1. Indeed editorial team. The 80/20 Rule Explained (Guide to the Pareto Principle). Feb 3, 2023. Accessed 26 April 2023. Available at: Indeed.com
2. O’Hearn M, Lauren BN, Wong JB, Kim DD, Mozaffarian D. Trends, and disparities in cardiometabolic health among U.S. adults, 1999–2018. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022;80(2):138-151.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2022.04.046
3. Knobbe CA, Stojanoska M. The ‘Displacing Foods of Modern Commerce’ Are the Primary and Proximate Cause of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Unifying Singular Hypothesis. Med Hypotheses. 2017 Nov;109:184-198. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2017.10.010. Epub 2017 Oct 14. PMID: 29150284. PubMed (nih.gov)
4. Vera Tarman, MD. MSc., FCFP, ABAM. Food addiction specialist, Toronto. Addictions Unplugged | Dr. Vera Tarman – Author, Speaker & Food Addiction Expert
5. Cripps, J. and Cucuzzella, M. (2023) ‘Look in or book in: The case for type 2 diabetes remission to prevent diabetic retinopathy’, Journal of Insulin Resistance, 6(1), p.7. https://insulinresistance.org/index.php/jir/article/view/79/248
New year’s resolution 2023
It’s that time of year again. We all possibly ate things we shouldn’t have and enjoyed some additional drinks over the holiday season. With the summer games approaching how can we get motivated and embark on our annual new year’s resolutions?
My wife and I have had the privilege of visiting the beautiful island of Kauai over the past 31 years. During those vacations we have noticed a colorful brightly dressed woman walking daily every year we come. For the first time in 3 decades, we stopped to talk to her and what an amazing individual she truly is.
This young lady told us she just completed the Honolulu marathon a month ago. Pretty amazing as she was 92 years-6 months-11 days old at the time and set a world record. What was most remarkable was her kindness, humility, and spirituality. She is currently training for a 10K local run in Kauai in February.
After we returned to our rental condo, I did an internet search and found to my surprise her name is well known on the island of Kauai where she moved to 31 years ago. Her name is Mathea Allansmith and she is a retired ophthalmologist. Incredibly she trained at UCLA medical school in 1967, one of two women, during the time men dominated the sciences. Even more remarkable she completed a residency in ophthalmology, had a family, and went on to have an illustrious career at Harvard Medical School and Mass Eye and Ear. She even delivered a prestigious invited ophthalmology lecture at the university of Toronto in the 1980s on her area of expertise “itchy eyes”. At no point in our conversation did she ever mention a single one of those accomplishments only talking about how fortunate she was living in Kauai, and all the positive people surrounding her.
A couple of days later Arienne and I ran into Mathea on an 8K walk. I told her I was a retired ophthalmologist, and we had a great talk. She asked me if I was as happy as her being retired and indeed, I was. Everything about Mathea is uplifting, inclusive, and ultra-positive. So, in closing if you are looking for motivation then look no further than this remarkable human being. What a privilege it is to have met this incredible woman.
It’s that special “sugary time of the year”
With the holiday season approaching us several people often get together with family and friends. Along with this wonderful social experience comes the temptation of sugar-laden foods that many of us are addicted to, even if we are unaware of the powerful forces our brains are exerting outside of our conscious control. Therefore, having a plan in place prior to enjoying some company can go a long way.
One approach is to eat prior to going to a party or friends’ homes. High quality protein makes you the least hungry (satiety), with healthy fat coming in a close second. The easiest way to achieve this is by eating animal based whole foods like chicken, beef, fish, and eggs which are also the most nutrient dense. Vegetarians can consider tofu and above ground non-starchy vegetables.
The second approach involves NOT drinking your calories. If alcohol is in your plans, consider a glass of wine instead of a sugar-laden sweet drink. Sparkling water can also help you feel fuller being sugar and calorie free. Drinking your carbonated water with your protein-rich meal can also help with satiety.
A useful app you can download for free will help you choose foods which are less likely to raise your blood glucose level. Are you aware of the fact that any more than 1 teaspoon of glucose (approximately 5 grams) in your blood volume of 5 litres is toxic? Chronically elevated insulin levels attempting to lower your blood glucose may eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes (T2D). The Freshwell app is easy to use and provides tons of useful information with great infographics on sugar contents of common foods.
For a fun easy to understand app that may greatly enhance your health consider downloading this on your phone or iPad – App – Freshwell Low Carb Project (lowcarbfreshwell.co.uk)
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season.
Safety Minute: Defibrillators could save your life
Best estimates suggest 35,000-40,000 Canadians suffer Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) yearly. When our hearts electrical system malfunctions the pumping action of the heart can stop immediately leading to collapse, unresponsiveness to touch or sound and absent or abnormal breathing.1,2 The required treatment is providing basic CPR until restoration of the hearts normal rhythm can be established with automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Basic CPR is easy to learn in less than 90 seconds.3 Yes, anyone can save a life so don’t be afraid to step up and help. Survival from SCA can increase from a meagre 5-10% rate to 50% with rapid defibrillation.2 Because 80% of SCA occurs in the home or public places and SCA increases with age the Ballantrae retirement community is higher risk.1,2,5
Residents who play tennis or boche should be aware of the AED in existence inside the tennis hut. Unfortunately, the hut may be locked when courts are not in use because of expensive equipment stored inside. At the front of the recreation centre inside both sets of double doors is another AED. Should you witness a SCA in the front parking lot, and don’t have your FOB, or no one is in the office, you cannot access the device. Hopefully the AED will be moved between both sets of doors as this could greatly enhance chances of timely defibrillation and survival. So in summary if you witness someone collapsing and they are unresponsive to touch or sound, and have irregular or no breathing: Call 9-1-1; begin CPR and ask someone to get the defibrillator immediately. AEDs have simple instructions on their use and save lives!
- Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC). Cardiac Arrest. 2020. Available at HSFC. Accessed 9 Nov 2022.
- Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). 2022. Available at ca. Accessed 9 Nov 2022.
- Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC). Cardiac Arrest. 2020. YouTube, Learn CPR in less than 90 seconds. Available at HSFC. Accessed 9 Nov 2022.
- Yow A G et al. Sudden Cardiac Death. StatPearls. 8 Aug 2022. Available at NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov). Accessed 9 Nov 2022.
- Newman M M. American Heart Association Heart and Stroke Statistics – 2022 Update. Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. Available at sca-aware.org. Accessed 9 Nov 2022.
Safety minute: When one minute of reading could save your life
Inspired by talking to my firefighter friends, Robert Head and Dennis Carter, periodically I will add to my lifestyle blog brief tips for safety in our Ballantrae community. There are so many facets to our conversations that hopefully I can address a few of them over time. I am sure will find these as useful and exciting as I do.
For our first topic consider the fact that most people in our community are seniors and at risk of falling. So why should falling be of concern to yourself or your neighbours? Because approximately fifty percent of falls occur in and around the home. (1) Trouble with your balance and gait or falls in the past year are the biggest risk factors therefore inform your family physician regarding these challenges min order to be screened for treatable causes. (2) Risk assessment and management of falls in the elderly are managed by multidisciplinary teams including nutritionists, physicians, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists to name a few. (3,4)
Because of the number of falls around our homes you may wish to consider getting help with strength training and taking balance classes in our community center with Dana and installing railings. Art Stephan has installed many safety railings in our neighbourhood, and should you wish to consider his services you may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Toews J et al. Report of Seniors’ falls in Canada. Division of Aging and Seniors. Public Health Agency of Canada. Available at Report on Seniors’ falls in Canada (publications.gc.ca). Accessed 17 August 2022.
- Al-Aama T. Falls in the elderly Spectrum and prevention. Canadian Family Physician. 2011; 57:771-6. Available from: full.pdf (cfp.ca) Accessed: 18 August 2022.
- Fall Prevention: Risk Assessment and Management for Community-Dwelling Older Adults – Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca)
- Kwan E et al. Assessment and management of falls in older people. CMAJNovember 04, 2014, 186 (16) E610-E621; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.131330
Gluttony and Sloth
It is easy, right? Eat less and move more and you will lose that extra body fat that slowly accumulated over the previous few decades. Is this true or is the “eat less move more” mantra spewed by powerful food companies (Big Food) who push delicious addictive ultra-processed junk shifting the blame to you because of lack of self-control? Big pharmaceutical companies (Big Pharma) readily hop on this bandwagon because they have thousands of expensive drugs waiting to treat numerous symptoms of chronic disease. If only you had more willpower—you may be surprised that indeed you are not at fault.
Understanding a little history is relevant currently. A technique for measuring the energy of food became widely utilized after W.O. Atwater perfected the bomb calorimeter at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1896 (1,2). Food is placed in a pressurized oxygen container, sealed, and surrounded by water, immersed in a steel container. Once food is completely combusted to carbon dioxide (C02) it causes the surrounding water temperature to rise. One large calorie, or kilocalorie (kcal), is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. The International System of Units (SI) is worldwide, the accepted measure of food energy since 1960, although kcal is still widely used in the USA (1). The conversion factors for joules and calories are: 1 kJ = 0.239 kcal; and 1 kcal = 4.184 kJ (1).
So, to simplify the physics and chemistry of thermodynamics the following values are applied to the three major food macronutrients when combusted in a bomb calorimeter:
- Carbohydrate 17kJ/g (4 kcal/g)
- Protein 17kJ/g (4 kcal/g)
- Fat 37kJ/g (9 kcal/g)
Although not a nutrient per se, Atwater also calculated the value of the heat of combustion of alcohol.
- Alcohol 29 kJ/g (7 kcal/g)
Because scientists now had something to measure this led to the “Calories-in Calories Out (CICO)” model around 1920 and “calories in” was equated with eating while “calories out” was thought of as exercise. So launched the dictum of losing weight was as simple as eating less and moving more. The elephant in the room not mentioned is the human body is not like a bomb calorimeter. We do not absorb all the calories we eat; different macronutrients markedly affect hormones and our gut microbiome in contrasting ways, nervous system signals affect our appetite and satiety levels in the brain, and more energy is required to metabolize proteins than carbohydrates — to name but a few. There is no question that if more calories stay in the body than are expended this will lead to weight gain, but this is not a useful statement to anyone hoping to improve metabolic health. In similar fashion if my vehicles were two feet longer than most garages — telling me that I need to lengthen the garage, take down walls, as the only solution — without recognizing that more practical advice might be to get a shorter car, is doomed to failure if I cannot get permits for renovations. A century later it is obvious that vehicles might be too long to fit into millions of garages but “it is our fault” because we have not secured the appropriate permission. Just like its your fault for not ‘eating less and moving more’ when failure comes with ‘dieting and exercise.’
Why is the CICO model a gift to Big Food and Big Pharma? If you gain a little weight, visit your physician, and are told to lose a few kilograms or pounds, the advice will be, as noted above — eat less (starvation) and move more (exercise). Sadly, a meta-analysis, including twenty-nine studies, revealed greater than 50% of lost weight regained by two years and 80% by year five (3) — and this was in people who remained in weight loss programs for over a year. I suspect much lower success in patients who get frustrated and drop out of one of the many expensive weight reduction programs. Because most of us mere mortals will fail the “standard of care weight loss advice” from health care workers, Big Food and Big Pharma can blame us for our sloth and gluttony. All the ultra-processed garbage (‘food’), all labelled with bar codes, makes these companies trillions of dollars yearly. It may surprise you that since the year 2000 Americans have eaten less yet exercised more —so, the CICO, recently renamed the ‘Energy Balance Model (EBM), would predict we all lost weight over the last 2 decades. Reality check — ‘from 1999 –2000 through 2017 –March 2020, US obesity prevalence increased from 30.5% to 41.9%. During the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.’ (4).
The competing model for ‘why we are getting fatter’ is the carbohydrate-insulin model (CIM). Although much more complex this is the underlying principle; refined grains, added sugars and easily digestible carbohydrates allow rapid glucose absorption from our gut after meals quickly raising our blood glucose levels. Because the human body, containing on average 5 litres of blood, was not designed to handle greater than one teaspoon (approximately 5 grams) of blood glucose the pancreas secretes insulin to drive glucose into storage, as glycogen in muscle and liver, and triglycerides (fat) in adipose tissue (fat cells). This powerful action of insulin negates some of the damage to vital organs and blood vessel linings which otherwise occur. Herein lies the problem — when we eat frequently, products containing easily digestible carbohydrates, added sugars and refined grains our insulin levels stay elevated for hours, eventually becoming chronically elevated over years. Insulin has a powerful ability to prevent the release of fatty acids (fat) from your fat cells. The two fuel sources utilized to make energy in a special part of your cells, the mitochondria, can use either fat or glucose. Because insulin is driving glucose into cells to minimize toxicity and fat cannot get out of the fat cells your brain senses this and thinks you are ‘starving’. It ramps up your appetite, at subconscious complex levels, and you eat more. Should you be one of those rare people capable of tolerating this starvation mode your brain says — OK dude I am going slow down your metabolism, drop your body temperature, decrease your ability to exercise and convert you into, what many of us have experienced with dieting — hungry, cold, tired, cranky, inactive people — all out of your control!
Do you need to understand the science between competing models of why we cannot lose weight? Probably not unless science is an area of interest to you.
BOTTOM LINE WHAT CAN I DO TO IMPROVE MY METABOLIC HEALTH
Because most of the population is insulin resistant (IR) — unable to handle refined grains, added sugars and easily digestible carbohydrates (5), you might consider the following approach:
- Shorten your eating window*. Referred to as time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting this is one of the fastest and most powerful ways to start your journey towards better health. If you eat breakfast at 6:00 am, lunch at noon and finish dinner at 6:00pm there is a 12-hour window when you are not eating. This allows insulin levels to decrease overnight allowing you to access your fat stores. Therefore, if you skip breakfast or dinner, by eating two meals a day (2MAD) then the body has a greater chance to burn more of your stored fat energy. For example, if you eat your first meal at 11:00am and then your second meal at 6:00pm there is a 17-hour window when you are not eating. *Diabetics on insulin and other diabetic and blood pressure meds should work in conjunction with their primary care physician because blood glucose levels and blood pressure may decrease as your body becomes more sensitive to smaller levels of insulin over time.
- Reduce refined grains, added sugars and easily digestible carbohydrates — start out slowly. The quickest way to remove added sugars and minimize insulin and blood glucose spikes is to stop drinking your calories. Orange juice contains more glucose than soda — eat an orange instead of orange juice. Avoid sodas, juices, or any drink with sugar — consider drinking water instead.
- Avoid refined grains — white bread, pasta, cereals.
- If you love veggies try and eat above ground vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower etc.
- Eat adequate amounts of protein. Why? This gives us satiety (we are not hungry) and success always comes with lack of hunger.
- Exercise, like walking or gardening, or whatever brings you joy will come naturally as you feel more energized. You cannot out-exercise a bad diet because your brain is too smart to let that happen.
For additional valuable free information of the web, I recommend dietdoctor.com. This valuable resource gives you ideas on how to improve your metabolic health, regardless of diets spanning vegan-vegetarian-carnivore. Everyone can look and feel better. My intent is never to tell anyone what they should eat or if they should exercise. Should you be interested in your own healthspan and quality of life then you may wish to research more on this topic. Of interest if your reduce your insulin resistance, lower your fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin level, and avoid large spikes in your blood glucose you fare much better should you become infected with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) — COVID-and-Metabolic-Health-with-notes.pdf (hotg.ca)
- Tontisirin, K et al. Food energy – methods of analysis and conversion factors. Issue 77. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Dec 2002. Accessed 4 Aug 2022. Available at: pdf (fao.org)
- DDS Calorimeters. How do calorimeters work? Digital Data Systems. Accessed 4 Aug 2022. Available at: How does a bomb calorimeter work? (ddscalorimeters.com)
- Hall KD, Kahan S. Maintenance of Lost Weight, and Long-Term Management of Obesity. Med Clin North Am. 2018 Jan;102(1):183-197. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2017.08.012. PMID: 29156185; PMCID: PMC5764193
- Stierman, B et al. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2017–March 2020 Prepandemic Data Files Development of Files and Prevalence Estimates for Selected Health Outcomes. National Center for Health Statistics (U.S. 06/14/2021. Series: NHSR No. 158
- Ludwig, DS, et al. Competing paradigms of obesity pathogenesis: energy balance versus carbohydrate-insulin models. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2022 Jul 28. doi: 10.1038/s41430-022-01179-2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35896818
25th anniversary (when months that seemed like years)
Yes, it was amazing that Friday June 17th, 2022, represented what I am calling the 25th anniversary of our Ballantrae community. This night represented the first time in 25 months, since COVID, that some brave souls gathered for our first long-awaited social interaction with neighbours and friends to celebrate. Social contact is good for our well-being, mental health and so much more.
Through the generosity of Alec Cloke from United Soils, members of the Ballantrae community were invited to attend “Music of Our Lives”, a fun filled evening with a live band, entertainment, food, and refreshments, all provided at no cost to us. Upon arrival at United Soils on ninth line staff guided us to park then shuttled us with golf carts to Tiny Seedlings Park. We set up lawn chairs in front of the bandstand, near the dance floor and were attended to by friendly courteous staff and caterers. Refreshments were available all evening from the projection area normally used for entertaining children and non-stop servers brought drinks to those sitting in chairs wrapped in blankets or with mobility issues.
We met warm and collegial Alec on the way into the event and he told us “He wanted to do something for the grandparents” because he mostly produces events for children. Nice to be wanted as a senior for a change. To keep us as comfortable as possible paramedics were on hand, state of the art portable washrooms was provided, food was brought to everyone seated and who could argue with an ice-cream truck. Even with winds of up to 70 kilometers per hour and temperatures hovering around 7 degrees Celsius lots of us danced the night away, maybe to keep warm, or more likely because we loved the music suited to our age group. The live band was great, professional dancing entertainment very good, and we finished off the night with spectacular fireworks.
Arienne and I are grateful for the opportunity attending this event and would sincerely like to thank the friendly and warm staff from United Soils Management, “Team United”, first responders, catering staff, Wayne Burgess for giving generously of his time, the entertainers and all you brave residents of HOTG who stuck it out in the cold to make this 25th anniversary so special.
Derecho and hurricane update to May 22, 2022 blog
The Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) from the University of Western Ontario updated additional information for the derecho which devastated parts of Ontario and Quebec on 21 May 2022. (1,2) Embedded hurricanes have been identified as Enhanced Fujita scale EF-2 with winds of 179-218 kilometers/hour (km/hr) in the following communities:
- Ottawa; regions of Navan-Sarsfield
The following communities suffered damage from EF-1 tornadoes with winds of 138-178 km/hr:
- London; two EF-1 tornadoes identified
- Hammond, Glenburn and Plantagenet scattered EF-1 damage
- Scattered EF-1 damage in parts of Quebec
Sadly 11 people were killed attributable to the storm
- What Is a Derecho? | NOAA SciJinks – All About Weather Accessed: 12 June 2022
- Northern Tornadoes Project. UWO. NTP-OpenData (arcgis.com) Accessed: 12 June 2022
Tornadoes, traumatization, and community
Our community was rocked by the tornado May 21, 2022, shortly after receiving a severe thunderstorm warning. Global News highlighted the ‘Alert Ready system for severe thunderstorms has not been issued in four years and winds need to be at least 130 km/hour or hail ≥ seven centimetres in diameter’ (1). Couples Gallery, Arnie’s Chance and Legendary Trail were particularly hard hit with downed trees, roof shingles sucked off with soffit and fascia torn off multiple homes; a devastating and traumatic sight for any of our residents viewing the community in the aftermath of the storm.
So, what causes tornadoes which are not as rare in Canada as people might imagine? Throw in the proper mix of warm air rising during a thunderstorm, surrounding cool air, winds creating swirling air, and a tornado could develop. Infographics on how tornadoes are formed are available from references 2 and 3. As devastating as the storm seemed on May 21, 2022, it would be classified as Fujita Class Zero (FC0) with winds of 105-137 km/hour (2, 3).
What makes our community stand out during these tough times? When cycling through the streets with my wife following the storm, we noticed neighbours helping neighbours, Melfer out with chainsaws clearing blocked roads and roofing crews from ‘Kelly & Sons” securing roofs from additional damage with tarping and other emergency fixes — all this on a Saturday long weekend. I am grateful for such community support and know we will get through this together.
- Callan, I. GTA, Southern Ontario feeling effects of severe thunderstorm. Global news. May 21, 2022. Accessed 22 May 2022. Available at: Globalnews.ca
- Toro, R. Infographic: How, When & Where Tornadoes Form. Live Science.com. Available at: Live Science Accessed 22 May 2022.
- UCAR. Center for Science Education. How tornadoes form. 2022. Available from: ucar.edu Accessed: 21 May 2022.